#soundbites - Is there too much racing?

#soundbites - Is there too much racing?

Animal Kingdom

By Bill Heller

Once upon a time, racing in most locations had an off-season. That created anticipation for its return. In the Northeast, when racing only lasted from March through November, you actually missed it in the off months, and you got really pumped up for its return. Those days are long gone.

Racing these days is year-round, and some tracks offer massive cards on Saturdays, as many as 14 races a day instead of eight or nine.

So we asked trainers: Is there too much racing?  

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Bob Hess Jr.

I don’t think there’s too much racing. But I think nowadays, eight, nine races a day with huge fields is ideal, not 12. I think the average person doesn’t want to be stuck there for more than three hours. In terms of promoting it with young people, eight would be ideal. Again, they don’t want to be stuck there. They get bored.

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Al Stall

I would say, no, there’s not too much racing. The foal crop is going down, so maybe that will inspire us. There are less opportunities. It could change if we wanted to do it. Cards at Gulfstream Park wear you out with 12 or 13 races. But you don’t have to stay the whole card. Young people now, there’s so much more to do. I would love to be able to educate them about our game.

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Bill Mott

I think the boutique meets seem to do the best. Longer meets—they never seem to end. People get bored. I think you wear people out with 14 races a day. Eight or nine is enough. I understand what they’re thinking, These guys aren’t stupid. And they look at the numbers. Most places need five days a week. Different people who work around the track need it. You can’t have a full-time employee and race two days a week. It makes no sense. But Instead of running 11, 12 or 14 races, you should run eight or nine. There’s going to be hard-core gamblers who would sit there for 12 hours, but I think they wear other gamblers out. I think they’re wearing people out.

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Graham Motion

I think there is too much racing. Look, every race office in the country is looking for horses. I believe that less racing would bring a better product for the bettors. I think less racing, at the end of the day… it’s just common sense to me. People want to see good racing and good fields. Twelve races a day—it’s way too much for everybody, bettors, horsemen and their employees. It’s very stressful for everybody. When your boys are at the track at 4:30 in the morning and still there at 6:30 or 7 or 8 (pm), I think it wears on everybody. Probably the gamblers as well. Jockeys begin at 5:30 in the morning, and they’re there until 7 or 8 (pm). How could a jockey be at his absolute best the entire day? They’ve got to be sharp, thinking quickly and making decisions. How can you keep doing that at 7 o’clock in the evening if you’ve been there all day?

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